Saturday, March 10, 2012

Carving Knife - Technique!

A while back there was a question on one of the wood carving forums, about how you hold your knife.  One of the options was "like pencil".  As soon as I read this, dismissed it as silly.  How could one possibily cut wood with a carving knife while holding it like a pencil.  I never gave it much thought until recently.  Several weeks ago as I watched a very experienced, and respected wood carver, carve a small eye with some very fine detail.  Dang! he was holding his knife like  a pencil. 

This got me thinking, and then trying it myself.  I did a little experiment.  I tried to write my name in wood, by holding the knife just like I do when doing some whittling.  I did it, but it was not the easy.  And the result was not in a flowing single connected cut.  I could never forge my name by holding the knife like that.  Next I tried to write my name in the wood, by holding the knife in the same manner that I hold a pencil when I sign my name.  The results were impressive.  Remember, I said that I had whitnessed this technique in carving the detail in a carving.  Included in this detail are the eyes.   When I remember this technique, I use it.  I just seem to have more controll when I hold the knife like I hold the pencil.  Most knives that I have are not shaped any where near that of a pencil.  Their handles are short and fat.  Here's some knives that are made for holding like a pencil.  The knife maker is, JIM MAYES from Phelan CA.  For more specific information on his knifes he can be reached at,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a newbie carver and I enjoy doing relief carving. I hold my detail knife like a pen/pencil when doing stop cuts AND also hold my wood burner tip holder like a pen too.